The team has agreed to a one-year deal with tackle Andre Smith, adding the former first-round pick after bringing him to the Twin Cities for a visit on Sunday and Monday. According to a league source, Smith will get $1 million guaranteed and can earn up to $4.5 million next season.
Smith took to Twitter on Thursday after he agreed to his contract.
— Andre Smith (@BigSmitty71) March 17, 2016
Smith, who spent the first five years of his career with Mike Zimmer while the Vikings' coach was the Bengals' defensive coordinator, is the fourth former Bengals player to sign with the Vikings since Zimmer became the head coach in 2014. Smith is, however, the first former Bengals offensive player to join the Vikings.
Bringing in Smith means the Vikings now have eight offensive linemen with at least four years of NFL experience, and the 29-year-old could start at right tackle this season over Phil Loadholt -- who is returning from a torn Achilles on a restructured contract with no guaranteed money -- and T.J. Clemmings, who had a rocky first season in the NFL.
The Vikings have repeatedly said they plan to create competition on the offensive line; Mike Harris could also be in the mix at right tackle, and the team could look to add an offensive lineman in the draft this spring. But Smith, who has started 73 games over the past six seasons, figures to begin the competition as the man to beat.
Smith, 29, had long been a stalwart on the Bengals' offensive line. Since 2011, he started at right tackle, lining up on the edge opposite Andrew Whitworth, the Pro Bowl left tackle who has been in Cincinnati since 2006.
With Smith and Whitworth anchoring the edges, the Bengals had built up an offensive line stability that made their collection of pass protectors some of the best in the league.
Injuries derailed Smith somewhat in recent seasons. A triceps tear while he tried to block Houston's J.J. Watt ended his 2014 season after just nine games. Smith made it through 14 games in 2015. A concussion sidelined him multiple weeks.
Questions about Smith's future in Cincinnati began popping up last offseason, when the Bengals drafted two offensive tackles in the first two rounds. First-round pick Cedric Ogbuehi couldn't even begin the year with the team because he was rehabbing from ACL surgery, but his selection was a clear sign that the Bengals were preparing for the future.
A first-round pick himself, Smith was drafted by the Bengals with the sixth overall pick in 2009.
ESPN Bengals reporter Coley Harvey contributed to this report.